Senior Taylor Russell powers over a Shoemaker opponent on her way to the basket in Tuesday's 68-53 victory.
KILLEEN — From start to finish, the varsity Lady Panthers executed the game plan presented by Liberty Hill Coach Matt Kirschner, boosting them past the Lady Grey Wolves of Shoemaker High School Tuesday.
Although Shoemaker came within striking distance in the third quarter, the defense stepped up and slowed down the Lady Grey Wolves’ offensive attack that led to a 68-53 final.
“This was a great win for us because Shoemaker is a quality opponent with some very good athletes that are a little quicker than we are and they really brought it to us,” said Kirschner. “But our style of play pushes them to do things they don’t want to do, which creates turnovers. We had kind of a slow start in that third quarter but we battled through it towards the end and into the fourth quarter.”
Liberty Hill (8-3) is now on a three- game winning streak following the Jack Frost Invitational played on Thanksgiving weekend in which Coach Kirschner and his team went 3-2.
Senior Kourtney Bevers helped throttle Liberty Hill out to a 21-15 lead after the first quarter after scoring eight points and making three blocks. Senior Macy Floyd nailed two three-point buckets in the first quarter as well. Four points for Taylor Russell and two for Maddie Metzger, coupled with a trapping defense that created turnovers, giving the Lady Panthers the momentum they kept for most of the game.
Excellent rebounding led to a handful of second-chance points for Liberty Hill in the second quarter that ended with Senior Lorrie Potts going coast to coast with six seconds left, breaking Shoemaker’s full-court press and laying in the basket at the buzzer. With that, Liberty Hill took a 33-26 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Grey Wolves crept back in the game with multiple free throws and aggressive offense. With a little over five minutes to play in the third, a Shoemaker basket cut the Liberty Hill lead to 37-34.
The period was highlighted and capped by a precision sidelines out of bounds play with only four seconds left of which Senior Jessica Green was the beneficiary. Along with 10 points in the period by Bevers, Liberty Hill had a 51-43 lead with one quarter to play.
“We executed great,” Kirschner said of the play. “We ran that sidelines out of bounds play with four seconds left in the third and ran it to perfection. That’s one of those things that we call in practice. I drew it up and made sure we were all on the same page. I told them I would call it off if I have to…but I didn’t have to and it was a great play of us.”
In the final period, Liberty Hill only allowed 10 points and scored 17 of its own to close out the Lady Grey Wolves 68-53.
“We got them out of rhythm and were able to contain the shooters for the most part, especially in the first quarter when we locked down,” Kirschner said. “To win the big games you have to have a lockdown defense.”
Bevers led the Liberty Hill attack with 25 points and three blocks. Green and Floyd each scored in double digits (10) and Potts added nine more.